10 of the Most Common Interview Questions & How to Answer

One can never be too prepared for a job interview, that’s what you should always tell yourself. It’s the key to success and will put you ahead of all the other candidates.

Here’s another way you can prepare for your interview, by practicing the 10 most common interview questions asked, along with some ways to answer them.

1. “Tell me about yourself”

Talk about yourself and your career in a summary fashion. Do your best to avoid rambling and ‘going on’ about absolutely everything you’ve ever done, just focus on your achievements and what you’re most proud of.

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2. “What are your strengths?”

Focus on discussing what you’re particularly good at, and be prepared to back them up with solid evidence / instances of how you’ve used them.

Try to avoid using a load of adjectives like ‘dynamic’, ‘team player’, ‘synergy’, as they won’t portray the real you at all.

3. “What are your weaknesses?”

The first thing to never do with this question is say “I have no weaknesses”. If you do, it’ll seem like you haven’t prepared for the interview at all.

At the same time, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by ‘under-complementing’ and saying “I work way too hard”.

Try to think about a genuine weakness that you’re making an effort to fix / resolve. The interviewer will be impressed that you’re being honest with yourself and that you’re trying to improve.

4. “Why should we hire you?”

Demonstrate how driven you are to be hired for this role. If you have everything that the Hiring Manager is looking for, then point it out, immediately! Talk about the other things you can ‘bring to the table’ and what they could do for the company.

Do NOT compare yourself with the other applicants.

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5. “Where do you see yourself five years from now?”

Take this opportunity to talk about your goals and future plans. Speak to them as if your a person with vision.

6. “Why are you looking for a new job? / Why did you leave your previous job?”

Keep this one as positive as you can, even if you’ve had a negative experience (such as getting fired), don’t go into drama, that’s not going to impress anyone. Discuss how you want to develop yourself and your career, not get more money (definitely don’t mention that).

7. “What do you know about our company?”

This can be an incredibly easy question to answer and impress on IF you do your homework. Try and learn as much as you can about the company and their offering, have they received any awards recently? Been in the news? Who are their main players? (same previous two questions apply to them as well).

By answering this effectively and confidently, you’ll show that you really do have a genuine interest in them.

8. “What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?”

This is a tricky one and requires an answer which is relevant to the job.

Sure, talking about how you decreased the companies IT costs by 21% is interesting, but pretty irrelevant if you’ve gone in for a Sales Manager role…

Talk about how you developed a fantastic sales offering / package which increased company profits by **%, that’s going to impress them!

9. “What are your salary expectations?”

A very tricky and dangerous question to answer during an interview. If you’ve researched the position enough and are confident you could give the company what they want, then it may be worth putting a figure on the table.

Then again, if you want to avoid talking about it, then say money isn’t really a motivator and you’re just looking to develop yourself and your career. You might also try an approach that Liz Ryan (Forbes – Human Workplace) recommends, which is by saying “I’m focusing on jobs in the $50k range” Is this position in that range?”.

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10. “Do you have any questions for me?”

The grand finale! This one comes up almost every time unless the interviewer just forgets to ask it.

Make sure you have some questions prepared, as this will (once again) show that you have done some research and are keen to know / learn more about them and the job.

But really, ask some questions that you genuinely want answers for. You’re interested in this position, right?

Keep in mind that this is only a very small offering of interview questions that might come up. Interviewers and Hiring Managers are getting more and more creative by the day with what they ask, so make sure you go armed with good answers.

10 Things You Should Never Say Or Do In A Job Interview

Some things in the job interview process should be left unsaid and undone, they’ll damage your reputation, your professional image and mainly all hope of getting the job will just go out the window!

You normally won’t be given a second chance to redeem yourself, once you’ve said or done whatever it may be that has turned the Interviewer against you, that’s it! Game over!

We’ve put together a useful little list of things that you should never say or do in a job interview which you’ll hopefully put to good use, let’s go:

1. The Interviewer asks “where do you see yourself in five years time”, you come back with “in your seat” or “I’ll have your job” – Sure, it’s all well and good to be confident during your interview, but throwing out over the top / cocky statements like this will just annoy the interviewer and lose you the job.

2. *Ring ring, ring ring…* “hello?” – Do not, I repeat, DO NOT answer your mobile phone if it should start ringing in an interview! Keep it on silent or even better, off.Bush_Oval_Office_phone_call

3. “So what do you guys do again?” or “I literally have no idea what your company does” – Failing the question “what do you know about our company” is very hard to do and can sometimes be an instant interview fail. Do the research! It’s so easy, just take 10-20 minutes to read up on them!

4. The Interviewer, “so what did you get up to in your last job”. You, “oh you know, stuff…” – Stuff? Stuff?! Really? Just tell them what you currently do / have done, it’s another ridiculously easy question to ace!

5. “Feedback, now! (please)” – Everyone likes feedback, it’s what helps us to improve and ultimately succeed at whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish, but asking for it there and then at the end of an interview is NOT the place! If you don’t succeed in the interview, then feel free to ask for it.

6. “Yes, that was a *!^& project” – Swearing is a huge no-no in a job interview, even if the person you’re talking to starts throwing down some colourful lingo, doesn’t mean you have to as well. Express your experience / skills by using proper words.

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7. *Yawwwwn* – If you’re bored, or tired, try not to show it! You will never be taken seriously by any Interviewer ever if you’re like that! Sit up straight, lock onto the Interviewer and take an interest in what they are saying. (alternatively, learn to yawn with your mouth closed and drink a few Red Bulls before the interview begins).

8. Suited and booted! – Sure, it might be really tempting to put on those new jeans, t-shirt and trainers that you bought the other day, but I’m afraid professional attire is what you will always be expected to wear at an interview. Remember, it’s all about those first impressions!

9. “What’s cooking good looking?” – Avoid saying anything like this at all costs! This is a job interview! Not an opportunity to flirt with the Interviewer, no matter how stunning they may appear!

10. “Do you have any questions?” – show the Interviewer that you’re interested in the role by asking questions! Make them confident! Ask them some good’uns like the ones found here.

That’s it for another post from us! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and found it either useful and / or entertaining! This is just a very small collection which we will expand on at some point in the future.